5 Tips for the Dutch Design Week 2017 & my personal shortlist

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5 Tips for the Dutch Design Week 2017 & my personal shortlist

On the train back from my 3-day-long immersion into the DDW 2017 I found it hard to reflect on what I’d just seen. I was overwhelmed… and that doesn’t happen often. The Dutch Design Week 2017 exhibition transforms Eindhoven from quiet science town into a melting pot of technology, design and parties. There’s so much to see and explore: from robotics; sustainability concepts and design to the future of food; housing and even dying. I feel like I’ve seen only a tiny part of what the Dutch Design Week 2017 has to offer during my 3-day-stay in Eindhoven. Nevertheless, here are my tips & the shortlist in case you are still planning to visit (the exhibition runs till 29th of October). These tips will serve you well next year as well, so here we go:

1. Don’t try to see all the halls

Simple. Just don’t. Unless you are going for the whole week. The exposition terrain is huge, stretching from one side of town to the other. Just imagine that every exhibit has an amazing concept and talented team working for months (sometimes years) behind it. You won’t want to skip and skim over the displays without trying to understand the concept behind them. Make a shortlist in advance of topics that interest you and focus on the halls that promote it.

2. Make a use of free “design taxies”

Although Eindhoven is a beautiful town don’t waste time on getting from exhibition to exhibition. On every location you will find the Volvo Design Rides: DDW taxis that visitors can use free of charge, that drive around transporting people quickly and comfortably from one location to another.

3. Plan your time wisely

Again, plan in advance what you want to see (see point 1). Then have a look at your preferred exhibit opening times. Most will close at 18:00, but some do stay open late. Plan accordingly and you’ll be able to see more. One of the exhibits I enjoyed is located at Kazerne, a restaurant and exhibition space that stays open till midnight.

4. Don’t worry about food & drink

The Dutch Design Week 2017 is extremely well organized with cafes, toilets and first aid stands at every large event. They’ve got you covered. Oh, and on Strijp-S you will not only find a cute courtyard with food trucks but the Embassy of Food: an exhibit/lab on future food and farming issues. (and yes, you can experience AND have a taste of the future at the Embassy of Food).

the Embassy of Food

S/ZOUT by Studio H (left). Cape Town-based Studio H is inviting visitors to sample crops that have been grown with saltwater. The studio worked with Salt Farm Texel – a Dutch farming company that specializes in salt-tolerant crops – to develop the concept, in response to global water shortages. The results include a range of condiments made from carrots, strawberries and tomatoes. 

3D-printed food by Byflow (right). Manufacturing company Byflow is presenting a range of 3D-printed snacks during Dutch Design Week. The company is showcasing a portable 3D printer that can prepare a range of meals derived from vegetable, meat and dairy ingredients, helping to reduce food wastage and cater for specific diets.)

5. Go with a friend

The Dutch Design Week 2017 is an extremely stimulating experience that will make you exhausted, inspired or confused. Going with a like-minded friend or a colleague will give you a chance to discuss and digest the experiences of the day. The DDW 2017 is much more than an exhibition, there are many lectures, prize ceremonies, networking events, debates and festivities that will be fun to attend with a friend. Still flying solo? There are organized tours or groups you can join. My dear friend and colleague, Yelena van Kharitonova, organizes yearly Russian speaking tours to the the DDW.

My shortlist to The Dutch Design Week 2017

DDW is different from other design events because it concentrates on the designs of the future. Although during the event every imaginable discipline and aspect of design is on offer, the emphasis is on experiment, innovation and cross-overs. My interests lay in the field of sustainable fashion and wearables so if this is your jam keep reading.

Are you at The Dutch Design Week 2017 only for one day? Then go to Strijp-S. Start with the Klokgebouw, an exhibition space filled with the most innovative and mind-blowing displays:

Strijp-S (Klokgebouw)



Air purification coating on textiles. Cleaner air through textiles? It is possible thanks to nanocoatings that convert dirt into water molecules. Onda makes this purification process visible, simply and effectively. Users press their coated textile, which then indicates the air quality with a light rhythm. Slow is clean, fast is polluted. The interior textile is available in many types & dimensions and can be exchanged easily. Joca van der Horst Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology.



Unique size fits you – Currently available 3D printed wearable products, mostly coming from large companies, give consumers limited options: “one size fits most”. PerFlex opposes this by making “unique size fits you” possible. On this website, you can combine a parametric pattern made by designers with your body data to get a personalized 3D product. Brigitte Kock, Bart Pruijmboom, Niek van Sleeuwen Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology. 



Variable fabric for wearable applications – ShapeTex can adopt different shapes and as such it is perfectly suited for wearable applications. The fabric has three layers, comprising thin copper, aluminium and the ultralight polyethylene. ShapeTex changes temperature and shape when an electric current is fed through it. As the fabric cools, it returns to its original shape. Jiachun Du Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology

The Girl and The Machine personal 3D knitwear

The Girl and The Machine personal 3D knitwear

The Girl and the Machine is on a mission to turn the fashion supply chain upside down, by making 3D knitwear on demand. This way we aim to decrease today’s overconsumption and reckless production, that cause the devaluation of clothes and waste energy and resources.


maestic at the Dutch Design Week 2017

Mestic is one of the products of Jalila Essaïdi, a Dutch artist and entrepreneur based in Eindhoven. Essaïdi is specialized in the fields of bio-based materials and biological arts (bio-art). Mestic is a patented method to directly convert animal manure waste into new materials such as bio- textiles, plastic and paper.

Paper Suit

Paper Suit by Carlijn Veurink

Carlijn Veurink: I like to search for a relationship between the human body and a material. Cardboard is normally used to statically pack an object. I wanted to give another dimension to cardboard by using it to pack the human body. A body is not static at all, it moves all the time. This paper suit reacts on the body and moves along with it. A subtle movement of a finger is translated by the cardboard into a whole new movement. There is a tension between the body and the paper suit. The cardboard starts dancing along with you.

Naemi Gustavsson, the Southern Sweden Creatives Exhibit

naemi gustavsson

A jacket screen-printed with thermochromic color that reacts to warmth, behaving almost like an emotional response indicator – eventually, it will take on a wearer-specific patterning.

Made to Mend

made to mend

Made to Mend is a reinforced tweed, a fabric that allows easy and infinite mending, inspired by traditional darning. Made to Mend is also a label that creates clothes and accessories made from this new material. The endless jacket is the first in a range of products.

Center: Modebelofte

Vlisco exhibit at the Dutch Design Week 2017

Modebelofte, meaning ‘fashion promise’, is an international platform for fashion talent that seeks to further develop the industry by presenting fresh perspectives and stimulating interdisciplinary collaborations. The exhibit was very nice, but what impressed me is Sander Bos who, with his MA in Fashion from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in the pocket, got to work with Vlisco’s design classic ‘Day and Night’. This exhibit is simply beautiful, going between light and dark, showing off the UV thread in the embroidery.

Center: Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show

Exceptional attention each year goes to work and development of young talent and this year the quality of the projects is amazing. Here are some of my favorites:


Juliette Delforge HAND CONSCIOUS

Juliette Delforge wants to slow down the rate at which we buy and discard fashion and enhance our experience of owning garments. With her ‘Hand Conscious’ range of jeans she has tried to achieve this not only for the wearer, but also for the designer, by creating a time-consuming, physically demanding and sensitive design. The work consists of experimentations with denim, because it is a democratic material that everybody can identify with. The designs combine an industrial cut with delicate hand-drawn embellishments and unusual materials. Juliette celebrates signs of wear as a form of poetry; a signifier of the ongoing interaction between the item, its wearer and the environment.


Marjolijn Senders URBAN WICKER

Natural materials and authentic craftsmanship appear to be at odds with modern materials, techniques and functionality. But this need not be the case. With ‘Urban Wicker’, Marjolijn Senders brings these seemingly opposing worlds together. Her two bags, a white shopper and black backpack, are handmade using natural wicker for strength and industrial polyester for flexibility. Combined, the contrasting materials complement each other as she weaves them into an integrated aesthetic. The bags can be enlarged when needed and are made up of modular sections to change the colour or pattern easily.


josef trojan, THE VERY FIRST SHOE

Children’s shoes are often scaled-down adult shoes. But toddlers have different needs when it comes to their feet. As they grow rapidly, they would be better off with flexible footwear. And of course their delicate skin needs protection from sharp objects, but feeling the ground beneath their feet is also important for finding their balance and developing their muscles. Josef Trojan explored the possibilities of industrial knitting and developed ‘The Very First Shoe’: a slip-on shoe, made of protective and flexible PU rubber, elastane, high-density polypropylene and polyester yarn. The sole sticks to any sock, which makes it complete: a knitted shoe that gives kids all the freedom they want for their first steps. A project in collaboration with TextileLab, Knitwear Lab, Thrace Plastics, Dr. Karl Wetekam & Co, Eurofibers, Stoll and Stahl.


Fenna van der Klei, SPUNKY WEBS

Fenna van der Klei has noticed how men are increasingly open to expressing their delicate side. Her ‘Spunky Webs’ collection captures the trend and takes it an innovative step further. Combining delicate yarns with sturdier plastic elements, these wearable, netted fabrics play with light, gravity and body shape. Iridescence, geometric patterns, open weaves and colour tones all combine to hide and reveal, embrace and accentuate the shape of the male body. Fenna has captured her designs in a series of photographs as a material catalogue for the fashion industry.

These exhibits are a drop in the ocean of amazingness you’ll find at The Dutch Design Week 2017. If you have time, have a look at the Kazerne (center, open late) and Veem building (Strijp-S). All this for € 19,50 p.p. For the whole week. I’m so coming back next year. Are you joining me?

  • October 30, 2017

    This looks really cool and I’d love to visit. I especially like the 3D printed knitting and the first shoe, they sound very well thought out. This is an excellent round up of the event!

  • October 30, 2017

    Sounds like a great event! I like the idea behind the first shoes – it’s very much true that children have different needs when first walking than adults.


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xx Victoria